Growing up these cookies were a treat for my family. Because of time needed to make these, they were usually only served around the holidays. And by the time us "little" ones made it to the dessert table, they were gone...eaten...or snagged up by a few of my aunts that loved to hoard up (Is hoard even a word?) and package some food to take home for leftovers before everyone else got a chance to finish eating....which aunts they were...well i'm sure some of my cousins reading this know who they are! I decided enough was enough! I found a few recipes for these delectable little treats and after a few trials, I came up with the perfect recipe. And don't say I didn't warn you! The first time making these I guarantee your going to want to ripe your scalp off, but don't despair ladies and gentlemen! It gets easier after your first run and in no time you'll be popping these cookies out like something stuck between Mama's teeth. Ewwww sorry! I grossed myself out with that one. Enjoy!
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 (8-oz) can almond paste
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
35 drops red food coloring
35 drops green food coloring
1 (12-oz) jar apricot preserves, heated and strained
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate chopped
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13- by 9-inch baking pan and line bottom with wax paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 ends, then butter paper. Beat eggs in mixer fitted with whisk attachment at medium-high speed. Add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time. Transfer to another bowl.
Switch to paddle attachment, then beat together almond paste and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add butter and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add almond extract and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low, then add flour and salt and mix until just combined. Mix in egg mixture.
Divide batter among 3 bowls. Stir red food coloring into one and green food coloring into another, leaving the third batch plain. Set white batter aside. Chill green batter, covered. Pour red batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with offset spatula (layer will be about 1/4 inch thick).
Bake red layer 10 to 11 minutes, until just set.
Using paper overhang, transfer layer to a rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Clean pan, then line with wax paper and butter paper in same manner as above. Bake white layer in prepared pan until just set. As white layer bakes, bring green batter to room temperature. Transfer white layer to a rack. Prepare pan as above, then bake green layer in same manner as before. Transfer to a rack to cool.
When all layers are cool, invert green onto a wax-paper-lined large baking sheet. Discard paper from layer and spread with half of preserves. Invert white on top of green layer, discarding paper. Spread with remaining preserves. Invert red layer on top of white layer and discard wax paper. Cover with plastic wrap and weight with a large baking pan. Chill at least 8 hours.
Remove weight and plastic wrap. Bring layers to room temperature. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Keep chocolate over water. Trim edges of assembled layers with a long serrated knife. Quickly spread half of chocolate in a thin layer on top of cake. Chill, uncovered, until chocolate is firm, about 15 minutes. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and place another baking sheet on top, then invert cake onto sheet and remove paper. Quickly spread with remaining chocolate. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Cut lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut strips crosswise into 3/4-inch-wide cookies.
Cooks' note:Cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 2 weeks.